Skip to content

Craig Smart

The Black Park in Dunoon, a rain-lashed summer`s afternoon. The climax to the 1978 Pub League; a decider to see who were the worst team in the bitterly competitive competition. Lining up were the local T.A, battle-happy veterans of many defeats at the hands of everyone in the league bar one; today`s opponents, the United States Navy team from the nearby Holy Loch base.

The ‘Yanks’ were the most woeful team to have appeared in the league, their record including a 22-0 drubbing and just a single goal scored. They had more men carried off and more sent off than the rest combined. Local lads savoured the 90 minute opportunity for a free boot at the ‘Yanks’. Local refs ( Men whose daughters had run off with sailors) turned blind eyes to the mayhem. The ‘Yanks’ led by Chiefy, all-American all-rounder, an honest, beautiful-game-loving preacher to his men of “zone up,zone up!!” or ” offence the defence.” He believed in sportsmanship, teamwork, fitness and the ‘dream’; that in football, anything was possible. 

The ‘Yanks’ got battered as the T.A boys meted out a lesson of vicious ferocity on the theme of territory and misplaced pride.They failed to score and the game slipped towards it`s end. By the 97th minute the T.A. had tasted enough flesh and had concluded that with their superior goal difference of plus 2 a draw would save them from wooden spoon ignominy. Chiefy had other ideas. As the locals begged for full-time Chiefy sent a 30 yard thunderbolt past the astonished T.A. keeper who had just turned his back to upright his spilled can of McEwan’s.The crowd finally persuaded the ref to blow for full time and the ‘Yanks’ had their first points!

Passion and belief for the beautiful game triumphed over cynicism, suspicion and an entrenched belief that “Oor Way” was the right way to play the game. In less than three days time from this fixture Scotland travelled to Argentina…

Posted in:
Associated Tags: ,